Former Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland, who has already had two terms in the recent past and is now running for a third term, has given Mesa County voters plenty of reasons not to elect her again, but here’s another one, and get ready. This one is kind of creepy.
In 2008, Rowland promoted a program that paid drug-addicted women $300 to get sterilized so they couldn’t reproduce. The program, called Project Prevention, targeted its advertising mainly at women, and 37% of the women who had been sterilized under the program were African-American. In 2009, African-Americans made up just 12.4% of the U.S. population.
In June of 2008, Rowland brought Barbara Harris, the founder of Project Prevention, to Grand Junction to promote the program. At the time, Rowland was a board member of the Mesa County Department of Human Services.
“We don’t allow dogs to breed,” yet “these women are literally having litters of children” — Harris
Harris previously tried to pass a law in California to make it a crime for drug addicts to have babies. After that failed, she started an organization called Children Requiring a Caring Kommunity (CRACK), that later changed the name to Project Prevention.
Harris toured the country promoting her sterilization program in a 30-foot motorhome that bore large images of pregnant women drinking alcohol and shooting up illegal drugs. The program’s slogan was “Don’t let pregnancy get in the way of your crack habit.”
Harris was quoted in Buzzfeed in 2012 as saying,
“We don’t allow dogs to breed. We spay them. We neuter them. We try to keep them from having unwanted puppies, and yet these women are literally having litters of children.”
Voters may want to consider Ms. Rowland’s support for this program before voting for her as county commissioner again.
Next she may advocate sterilizing people who scrutinize her record.